As customer data multiplies and grows at your company, email marketing software becomes a better, more cost effective solution that positions you for future growth.
Email marketing software gives you the power to:
- Create customizable, branded templates for quick, professional looking emails.
- Capture new leads and automate follow-up using targeted email messages.
- Lead prospects through the sales funnel by educating and nurturing them until they are ready to buy.
- Manage contact lists of customers and prospects, including information to segment and target specific interests.
- Automate routine tasks including sending thank you notes and special offers to customers.
- Capture and analyze metrics like open and click through rates.
- Survey customers for insightful feedback on products or services.
- Use split A/B testing to achieve better results from your investment.
Investing in an piece of email software is a big decision. Here are 5 things to consider before you take the plunge.
1. Identifying Email Marketing Goals
Before you decide on the best email marketing solution, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you hope to achieve with your investment.
- Build a single list of customers, contacts and leads.
- Eliminate duplicate contacts.
- Segment into broad categories for existing customers and potential customers.
- Implement auto-responders based on different actions customers and potential customers perform on your website or via email newsletters and email blasts.
- Create data-driven personas for marketing.
- Build and manage email campaigns.
- A/B test to hone your messaging.
- Increase ROI of campaigns.
Not all email marketing solutions have the same capabilities, so choose a solution that supports your goals. Look for a package with built-in metrics and analytics that help measure progress toward your goals.
Examine your financial and time resources to determine the scale of your email marketing software integration. The key is to implement a solution that fits your current business needs. Are you a small startup? Then perhaps free, relatively simple software is the answer.
Furthermore, always consider a service that is provided on the cloud. Having a cloud email marketing software solution helps you stay on top of upgrades, backups and other routine maintenance tasks. This makes them ideal for small companies with limited personnel.
3. Tools and Features
Designing a professional looking email is not easy. Many email marketing systems provide templates that help create beautiful email messages. You can easily add your own branding elements such as logos and colors to predefined templates to get you going quickly. According to McKinsey, 45 percent of all marketing emails are opened on a mobile device. Templates are especially helpful to ensure that every email looks great regardless of the device the user opens it on.
Many customers enjoy receiving information about products and services that interest them, but most people hate receiving spam. Segmenting your lists helps ensure that you walk this fine line by only sending email to contacts that the message appeals to, resulting in higher open and click-through rates, higher sales and fewer opt-outs. In addition, the email marketing software provider usually monitors opt-in and opt-out information, reducing the risk that you inadvertently violate the CAN-SPAM Act regulating commercial emails. Other ways to improve audience segmentation compare the effectiveness of different headlines or which offers bring in the most sales. The result is more orders and happier customers.
Campaign metrics help ensure that you spend your marketing resources on campaigns that result in the most sales. Decide what metrics are most important to reach your goals and pursue them. You want the ability to measure the performance of your various email campaigns, but you don’t want to pour through pages of detail to find the answers. Look for predefined metrics, simple analytics and scorecards that show results at a glance so you can make changes quickly to improve campaign results.
Social Media Integration
Look for easy ways to link to your most important social media channels so you can drive traffic, increase your followers and create brand awareness. Social media amplifies the reach of your message, so the easier it is to reach your loyal followers, the faster and wider your message travels, with no additional effort or expense on your part. Research from the Radicati Group projects the number of social media accounts to be 3.9 billion by the end of 2015, so use this channel for your advantage as much as possible.
While you could host email marketing software in-house, the cloud simplifies the entire process. A company eliminates much of the in-house support requirement, and has access to efficient servers to process email. The provider handles all routine maintenance tasks.
Consulting and Implementation Support
While getting started and managing email marketing software is relatively simple, it’s nice to have a team of experts on call to walk you through new processes or provide guidance on best practices. Look for a provider that has a team of support experts you can work with if necessary.
The more of these tools your selection offers, the more productive your marketing efforts will be. While not every email marketing solution has all of these features, you can find solutions that are ideal for small and midsized companies.
Email marketing solutions are available in all price ranges and with several pricing models. You can buy on-premise licensed software, but that usually requires a large upfront capital investment, which may be cost prohibitive for a small business.
Cloud providers usually don’t require upfront investments since you pay on a monthly or quarterly basis. The services and capabilities you use determine the monthly payment, making it simple to find a solution that fulfills your requirements within your budget. More effective marketing leads to more engaged customers and higher sales.
5. Measuring Success
A company primarily measures the success of any email marketing investment through an increase in sales that you can link back to an email. To improve and refine e-mails, it’s also important to measure the number of times customers open your messages and click through to any call to action. The software makes it easy to measure whether people forward your emails to friends, which is an important metric to track. As you begin your email marketing projects, decide which metrics your company will use to define success.
Once you have chosen your goals, take a baseline measurement so you have a starting point. Most email marketing software solutions track these metrics automatically, so it’s relatively simple to track success as you progress. Measure the effectiveness of your marketing messages by A/B testing and measuring the response to various subject lines and offers so you can hone in on what your target customers respond to best.
Email marketing software can have a profound effect on the success of your marketing efforts and your sales, so don’t rush into a decision until you and all involved have thought through the process.